Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Hundreds in rural SLO County and Santa Maria lose power in PG&E shutoff

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2021 at 11:57 AM

Gusty winds and dry conditions caused PG&E to preemptively cut power to hundreds of households in rural southern San Luis Obispo County and Santa Maria on Jan. 19—part of the utility’s first wave of Public Safety Power Shutoffs in 2021.

The shutoff, which spans seven Central California counties, is impacting 462 customers around Huasna, Suey, Twitchell Reservoir, and Tepusquet—sparsely populated areas east of Arroyo Grande, Nipomo, and Santa Maria.
SHUTOFFS More than 450 customers in SLO and northern Santa Barbara counties are without power due to a PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff on Jan. 19. - MAP COURTESY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY
  • MAP COURTESY OF SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY
  • SHUTOFFS More than 450 customers in SLO and northern Santa Barbara counties are without power due to a PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff on Jan. 19.

Of those without electricity, 91 are in SLO County and 371 are in Santa Barbara County. About a dozen residents who depend on power for medical devices are affected. Another 66 customers across both counties have also lost power due to unplanned outages.

PG&E announced the potential for a shutoff on Jan. 17 as it monitored a “powerful, offshore weather event” two days after SLO County broke a winter temperature record. About 5,200 customers are affected statewide.

“We will not begin restoration efforts until the extreme conditions have subsided and we’ve been given the all-clear by the PG&E Emergency Operations Center,” PG&E spokesperson Mark Mesesan told New Times via email. “Then, we will use ground crews, helicopters, and other resources to inspect our equipment and safely expedite any necessary repairs before we begin to re-energize customers.”

Those customers impacted by the shutoff can visit community resources centers at the Grover Beach Community Center and the First Christian Church in Santa Maria to access portable charging devices, Wi-Fi, blankets, and food.

According to the National Weather Service, hazardous wind gusts are forecasted to continue through the evening of Jan. 19. PG&E has not provided an expected date and time for ending the shutoff, other than giving a date range of Jan. 18 through 20.

“Winds will continue to howl all up and down the Bay Area/Central Coast before gradually leveling off this evening,” a Jan. 19 tweet from the National Weather Service’s San Francisco Bay Area account read. “For now, be sure to report any downed power lines to local authorities.” ∆
Peter Johnson

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

SLO County Sheriff asks for help finding potential witness in 2019 Oceano homicide

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2021 at 4:38 PM

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help locating a man who it believes is a possible witness in the unsolved murder of Oceano resident Larry Bross.
ACTIVE INVESTIGATION The SLO County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man who it says visited Oceano resident Larry Bross (pictured) two days before he was killed in 2019. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • ACTIVE INVESTIGATION The SLO County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man who it says visited Oceano resident Larry Bross (pictured) two days before he was killed in 2019.


Investigators are searching for “a male subject who was observed visiting Bross” two days before the 90-year-old’s body was found in his Oceano home on the 1400 block of Strand Way on Jan. 24, 2019.

“It is believed this person may be a friend or acquaintance of Bross,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a Jan. 12 press release, put out nearly two years after his death.

A local activist and retired teacher, Bross died after being beaten and stabbed to death with a sharp object, according to authorities. A neighbor concerned about his whereabouts found him deceased in his home. After two years, no arrests have been made in the case.

According to our previous reporting, Bross was a vocal and longtime proponent of limiting recreational vehicle activity at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, which butted up against the backyard of his home.

Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Tony Cipolla said in an email that the department is not releasing additional information about the case at this time “so as to not jeopardize the investigation.”

Anyone with knowledge of the person of interest can contact the Sheriff’s Detective Division at (805) 781-4500.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. ∆
—Peter Johnson
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